This week I had the pleasure of chatting with the fabulous Antoinette Hamilton of Antoinette Hamilton Aesthetics in Bury. She gave me the glowdown on overcoming confidence issues and becoming the lip queen!
Hi Antoinette! Thanks for joining me. Tell me how you got started in aesthetics
I never planned to go into the aesthetics industry. I'd been nursing in the NHS for over 10 years and was quite happy slowly climbing the ladder – leaving was just something I hadn’t ever considered. But a friend of mine kept saying I should give aesthetics a go. My friends were all having Botox and agreed that I should go for it, so, after a few years of them badgering me, and me procrastinating, I thought, ok, I’ll try it. And as soon as I started training, I wished I’d done it sooner! I absolutely love it!
What were some of the challenges you faced when starting your own aesthetics business?
Coming from a nursing background, the idea of running a business just felt like a completely different world, which really took some time to get used to. Another thing was a lack of confidence - in both my injecting skills and my ability to run a business. All of a sudden, you’re injecting people’s faces and they’re putting their trust in you to do a good job.
I also felt like I had a lack of support when I first started out. I felt like I was completely on my own - which can be really scary. I didn’t know anyone I could go to for help or just approach to ask questions. When you work in a hospital as part of a team, you always feel supported, and there’s always someone more experienced than you that you can go to. When you start out in this industry, it can be daunting, as you don’t always know who to turn to.
At times it felt like people would judge me for asking questions - a kind of fear that you shouldn’t be doing this if you don’t know the answers - but we all have to start somewhere, and, in this industry - as with nursing - we’re constantly learning, so it's completely normal to question things. I started going to forums and, at first, I sat back and watched others ask questions until I built up the confidence to start asking little things - and then more and more. I still go onto forums and I’m now at a level where I’m able to answer other people’s questions.
That must be such a great feeling! So, what tips would you give to anyone just getting started in aesthetics?
Get out of your own way! Don’t let your lack of confidence be a stumbling block. If you can overcome your confidence issues, you’ll be a success. It’s only you holding yourself back.
Miranda Pearce and Samantha Kelly were two people who really helped me with my personal development and with building my confidence. They were key components in my growth and offered me lots of advice. I spent a lot of time not just digesting what they said but also acting on it. That was a game changer for me. Now I know I can do whatever I want to do. And I surprise myself sometimes - I’ve come a long way.
I’d also say to network as much as possible. When you start out, you tend to overthink all the things that could go wrong, but once you start building support networks and going into forums, you realise that everyone has the same insecurities, asks the same questions, or actually wants to help you.
I can’t talk to you without mentioning your nickname - the ‘lip queen’! How do you get lips looking that amazing?
I take my time with lips. I’ve done various courses and have developed my own way of treating people so, rather than using one method, I take elements from different methods. A lot of it is in the assessment of the lips. So, before I start lip fillers, I spend a lot of time looking at a patient’s lips and taking photos. Sometimes you notice something different on a photo to what you see face to face. I also speak to my clients because sometimes they notice things about their lips that I may have missed.
I also take into consideration the whole face - especially the lower face - and whether the lips are in proportion with the client’s other features. So, I’m assessing everything - not just their lips. I look at symmetry and ratio, and I use a combination of needles and cannula. Everyone’s different, so it's really important that everyone is treated differently. It’s definitely not a one size fits all approach.
I always make sure I take several before and after photos to ensure I get the right lighting and angles to share on my social media profiles. Getting good at taking pictures would be my tip to anyone getting started. I only use my iPhone; no special lighting, but I’m always able to get the right shot. Oh, and also show your patients the before and after photos before they leave. If they see exactly what you’d be looking to share on social media or on your website, they’ll be more likely to give consent.
That’s great advice! So, what’s a typical working day like for you?
I get up in the morning and the first thing I do is post on my social media. Then, I reply to messages and emails I may have received late at night. Then, on my way to work, I try to listen to something motivational, like a mindset recording or an audiobook, to get me focused for the day ahead.
I then see up to ten patients in a day, for a variety of things - from skincare consultations, fillers, Botox - everything. Then, when I get home, I reply to more messages and do more on social media, and I generally take some time to get things ready for the next day.
If I have time after the children have gone to bed, I try to do some further learning - such as reading or watching a webinar. It's never ending! I’m always busy, but I love every moment of it.
Thanks, Antoinette! It was great getting to know more about you and your business.